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Why Are There So Many Pit Bulls In Shelters?

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As a Pit Bull proprietor and advocate, it breaks my coronary heart understanding that Pit Bulls make up the most important proportion of canine in shelters throughout the USA. My canine, Guybrush, was saved at simply 5 months of age from the Manhattan AC&C. He was on the at-risk record 4 years in the past final month, and if it hadn’t been for my fiancée, he in all probability would’ve died, identical to so many different Pit Bulls. Not as a result of he was a nasty canine. Not as a result of he had behavioral points. However as a result of he was an proprietor give up and there have been simply too many canine like him ready to be saved.

I didn’t actually have an opinion of Pit Bulls on the time. I imply, I knew that there have been these on the planet who had adverse associations with them, however I additionally knew that that was nonsense. It wasn’t till Guybrush that I discovered how superb and constant and affectionate they are often. And never simply due to Guybrush – when you fall in love with one Pit Bull, you fall in love with all Pit Bulls. I can’t rely what number of occasions I’ve met a Pit Bull since, they usually’re all the identical – they only need to lick your face and be your greatest pal.
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However it’s not sufficient to only love these canine and speak about how nice they’re. It’s additionally essential to confront the challenges related to them, and one of many largest is the huge consumption of Pit Bulls in shelters. The query is, why are there so many? And why are they dying in such giant portions day-after-day?

What Is A Pit Bull?

Guybrush the Pit Bull

This in all probability looks like a foolish query, nevertheless it’s necessary that we lay out exactly what we imply once we check with Pit Bulls. A Pit Bull, in fact, isn’t a breed; it’s an umbrella time period that most individuals use to check with several types of canine – the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, any mixes thereof, and any canine that vaguely resembles these canine.

Whereas there are those that would disagree with the inclusion of, for instance, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier as a “Pit Bull-type” canine, the truth is that, in follow, all of those canine are Pit Bulls within the eyes of the regulation. All of those canine make up the “Pit Bulls” which might be sitting in shelters throughout the nation proper now, ready for his or her eternally residence, oftentimes in useless. So for the needs of this text, that’s what I’ll name them.

The Statistics

Hudson Pit Bull via Instasarah

Annually, 1.2 million canine are euthanized, roughly 40% of whom are Pit Bulls. This signifies that almost half one million Pit Bull-type canine are killed in shelters yearly. Of all of the widespread canine varieties to seem in shelters, Pit Bulls are by far the almost definitely to be euthanized, whereas they’re solely the third most probably to be adopted.

WHY Are There So Many Pit Bulls In Shelters?

cute pit bull mom and baby puppy dogurl

That is clearly an enormous query, and one with a whole lot of elements. However so far as I can inform, there are two main causes for Pit Bull consumption in shelters being as excessive as it’s.

One, overpopulation: Whether or not it’s yard breeding or informal breeding or simply plain breeding, there’s approach an excessive amount of breeding of Pit Bulls happening. It doesn’t assist that Pit Bulls are likely to have giant(ish) litters, anyplace from 6-12 puppies per litter (typically it’s extra, and typically it’s much less).

The second purpose? Breed Particular Laws and Pit Bull Prejudice. I referred beforehand to the challenges related to Pit Bulls. Primarily, I used to be speaking concerning the shelter drawback (as I beforehand indicated) and BSL/prejudice, which may make it extraordinarily troublesome for households to absorb – and typically maintain – Pit Bulls.


Pit Bull Puppies

First, let’s delve into the Pit Bull breeding situation – and let there be little question that it’s, certainly, a problem. Clearly, if the nation’s shelters are filled with Pit Bulls ready to be put down – and if Pit Bulls are being killed at such an insane fee (599 to 1) – there’s an excessive amount of breeding happening, plain and easy.

However why are Pit Bulls being bred a lot?

I talked to Dr. Emily Weiss of the ASPCA about all of this (learn her fascinating blog-post on this matter for extra info), and right here’s what she needed to say:

“I can inform you some developments. Pit Bull-type canine are more and more increasingly more fashionable. There’s extra registrations for Pit Bull canine – whether or not they’re American Bulldogs or Staffordshire or American Pit Bull Terrier – and we’re seeing extra of them come into […] vets. That tells us, the place we are likely to see extra canine in houses, we are likely to see extra canine in shelters. [Popularity is] possible a really huge a part of it.

“Whether it’s backyard breeding or folks casually breeding or even breeding for financial reasons, when we see that there are more [dogs] in people’s homes, we can intuit that more are being bred.”

That’s proper, one of many huge causes so many Pit Bulls are ending up in shelters is that they’re turning into increasingly more common with every passing yr. In fact, we’ve recognized for a while about this elevated reputation. In 1993, Pit Bulls made up lower than 1% of the general canine inhabitants on this nation. Ten years later, that proportion had elevated fivefold, and that’s simply of the canine that have been registered. In the 12 years since, you’ll be able to guess that the Pit Bull inhabitants has solely grown bigger.

Furthermore, in a 2012 research carried out by VetStreet, the American Pit Bull Terrier ranked among the many prime three pets in 28 states, and was primary in Rhode Island (which not so way back handed a regulation prohibiting BSL). That’s an extended option to go for a canine that was as soon as feared far and broad because of media hysteria.

Pit Bulls

In some ways, reputation is an effective factor. Reputation signifies that Pit Bulls are being seen in a extra constructive mild. It signifies that prejudice towards them is reducing, and consequently, so, too, is Breed Particular Laws. Not solely are fewer states, cities, and counties resorting to BSL – which has been confirmed again and again to be pricey and ineffective – however many states/cities/counties are softening their anti-Pit Bull legal guidelines, and in some instances repealing them altogether.

Clearly, few individuals are going to recommend that we actively try and make Pit Bulls unpopular as a way of reducing their quantity in shelters. However to a level, if these canine are common, they’re in all probability all the time going to rank a bit greater when it comes to shelter consumption than, say, the Mexican Hairless Canine. In any case, the Labrador Retriever – America’s hottest canine – ranks quantity three in shelter consumption.

Then once more, if Labs rank primary in reputation and quantity three in shelter consumption – and Pits rank primary in shelter consumption and someplace decrease than primary in reputation – there needs to be extra at work right here than mere demand. Which brings us to our subsequent level:

BSL/Pit Bull Prejudice

Pibbling with Theodore Pit Bull

There are numerous causes Pit Bulls find yourself in shelters, identical to all canine. Typically they’re picked up as strays, typically their house owners cross away, and typically individuals are simply egocentric and merciless and throw them away like yesterday’s rubbish. By and enormous, this stuff can’t actually be mitigated. There will all the time be strays. There will all the time be house owners who cross away. And there’ll all the time, sadly, be merciless and egocentric individuals who ought to by no means have owned canine within the first place.

However there are different causes, too, ones we will and will struggle towards. The large one is Breed Particular Laws. There are so many locations throughout this nation that outright ban the possession of Pit Bulls. A pattern? Denver, CO. Miami, FL. Council Bluffs, IA.: The listing goes on and on.

It’s due to BSL that so many Pit Bulls find yourself in shelters in these areas. A few of them are fortunate sufficient to be pulled by rescues and brought elsewhere, however lots of them are simply put down.

I talked somewhat bit about how pricey and ineffective BSL is, nevertheless it bears repeating. Research after research has proven that banning Pit Bulls doesn’t lower canine bites, and actually merely will increase canine bites from non-Pit Bull breeds like Labradors and Boxers. This proves that no matter statistics you’ll find about Pit Bulls attacking individuals extra typically than different canine are an instance of correlation, not causation. All issues being equal, Pit Bulls price extremely excessive in temperament checks. Larger, even, than Golden Retrievers and lots of different breeds.

Pit Bull Temperament Test

However BSL is merely one type of Pit Bull prejudice. One other is extra insidious and pervasive, and maybe harder to battle towards. It’s the unfairness of landlords and insurance coverage corporations.

Whereas there could also be extra households now than ever who’re prepared to deliver Pit Bulls into their houses, it’s not all the time attainable for them to take action. Many landlords refuse to lease to households with Pit Bulls. Many insurance coverage corporations permit the denial or cancellation of protection if a home-owner owns a Pit Bull. (Word to pro-Pit Bull residence house owners: Go together with State Farm, Farmers, United Providers Vehicle Affiliation, Chubb Group, Amica, or Auto-House owners Insurance coverage.) Typically households with Pit Bulls lose their houses, they usually discover it next-to-impossible to seek out Pit Bull-friendly flats, which finally – and tragically – results in them surrendering their canine to shelters.

It’s this type of prejudice that makes it harder to undertake out Pit Bulls from shelters. Individuals are afraid to undertake them for worry of the way it’ll have an effect on their dwelling conditions. In some instances, they’re utterly incapable of adopting them. And till we cope with these points, Pit Bulls will proceed to be probably the most generally euthanized canine in shelters, to say nothing of the consumption.

Don’t Blame Shelters


I perceive the impulse to vilify shelters in all of this, as they’re the one’s euthanizing these canine, however the actuality isn’t so black and white. Positive, there are examples of malpractice in shelters, simply as there are examples of malpractice in each type of public service.

For probably the most half, although, these individuals are doing what must be executed in a really imperfect world. And in the event that they didn’t do their job, it will simply imply many canine would die a slower, extra painful demise from lack of area, lack of meals, and lack of care (amongst different issues).

In Sum

Guybrush the Pit Bull Smiling

Certainly not is that this an exhaustive article that particulars each side of why Pit Bulls seem in shelters in such giant numbers. The reality is, there’s simply not sufficient analysis about an ideal many issues to do with the difficulty, which makes extensively speaking or writing about it a bit troublesome.

As for options to the Pit Bull shelter drawback – properly, there’s no fast repair. However, we will and will attempt to repair it, and within the course of, enhance issues to the most effective of our potential.

A few of what must be completed comes right down to schooling. We have to educate individuals about the advantages of spaying and neutering. We have to educate potential canine house owners about adopting Pit Bulls as an alternative of shopping for them from yard breeders. We have to educate individuals concerning the wonders of Pit Bulls usually, so BSL and Pit Bull prejudice from landlords and the like could be a factor of the previous, or on the very least, much less frequent.

Fifty the Two Legged Pit Bull and Rude Dog Six Legs Foundation

50 the Two-Legged Pit Bull & Impolite Canine of Six Legs Basis

We additionally want packages that assist Pit Bulls and Pit Bull house owners in want. For instance, in the event you undertake a Pit Bull from the AC&C of NYC, spays/neuters are free. Should you fall on exhausting occasions and are having hassle protecting your canine, the Six Legs Basis might help. The Mr. Mo Undertaking saves senior canine (and primarily Elderbulls) from sure shelter dying. The New York Bully Crew does an unimaginable job of rescuing Pit Bull-type canine nearly day-after-day of the yr. And the listing goes on. Help these packages and non-profits, to allow them to go on supporting the canine we love a lot.

Like I stated, it’s not sufficient to only love Pit Bulls and speak about loving them, we additionally should struggle for them. As a result of, let’s be trustworthy, we’re the rationale they want preventing for within the first place.

Editor’s Word: A earlier model of this text used questionable statistics from Animal Individuals.

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